The BBC has forged a groundbreaking deal with four national newspaper groups for them to share its news video footage for the first time.
Under terms of the deal, the websites of the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Independent and Guardian will be able to show a limited amount of BBC footage on four key subjects – UK politics, health, business and science and technology – for free.
The scheme is set to be extended to other UK-based news sites in the future but it will not extend to coverage of sport or entertainment.
The BBC said the move was the best way to sustain public-service content.
The newspaper sites have agreed that the BBC video will not be connected to any advertising. Instead it will carry BBC branding and access will be restricted to UK viewers.
BBC is sharing video news content via a phased approach with the first newspapers to embed content among those with the largest online audiences.
Other news websites will also be able to have access to this limited content in the future, the BBC said, with content available to more websites as soon as it is ‘practicable”. The BBC is accepting bids from any other news site who wish to carry its content.
Video content will also be made available for personal users to embed on social networking sites and individual’s websites from mid-August.
The deal marks a landmark shift in the BBC’s relationship with other rival media companies.
Newspaper groups, particularly in the regional press, have long argued the BBC’s online operation, spectacularly funded by public money through the licence fee, has provided unfair competition to their fledgling commercial offerings.
Last year, regional publishers were rejoicing after the BBC Trust drew a thick red line through management plans to launch a network of hyperlocal video news websites across the country, forcing a strategic rethink.
Mark Byford, BBC deputy Director-General and head of journalism said: ‘The BBC set out its intention to open up access to BBC news content as part of the Digital Britain process.”
‘We regard this initiative as a core part of the BBC working more effectively as a public partner, with other media organisations utilizing BBC news content.”
Telegraph’s head of visuals Guy Ruddle said they had been ‘waiting for the BBC to start sharing its content with us and this is definitely a step in the right direction.”
This is the latest move by the BBC to partner with commercial media organisations. It had previously announced a sharing agreement with Telegraph Media Group, allowing the newspaper publisher to put some content from the BBC iPlayer on the Telegraph.co.uk website, in what it described as a ‘non-exclusive pilot scheme”.
This expanded on a previous agreement with TMG in which a direct link to the iPlayer was available from the Telegraph website.
In addition, the BBC has indication that it is willing to share iPlayer technology and is also striking a local resource share deal with ITV as a way to offset government proposals to ‘top-slice’the licence fee to help pay for other local public service broadcasting.